Elmley NNR. 20/11/2014.
I wasn't planning to go out today but at around lunchtime I thought it might be nice to pop over to Elmley NNR for a couple of hours. We arrived at about 1pm. The track to the car park did have some birds scattered about. The majority of birds seen was Starling, closely followed a large flock of Golden Plover. There was, as expected a good number of Marsh Harriers out and about, one female coming very close.
As we neared the final bend of the track 2 Ruff was feeding. I spent my time in the Wellmarsh Hide, the weather was nice, bright, calm, but hazy in the distance. On my way down to the hide a male Stonechat sat proudly on the top of one of the reeds.
The water level in front of the hide is high, there is only 3 small islands showing, only one of them had any birds on and that was 7 Snipe. The only wildfowl on the water was 3 Teal, and 3 Mallard. There was a good number of Curlew scattered over the whole area. The far side of the reserve held a large gaggle of Brent Geese. The Wigeon numbers are still low, but I expect there number to rise significantly later into the winter Most of the one's I did see was grazing in the distance. Today belonged to the birds of prey. Marsh Harriers was showing well. In one right to left scan I counted 11, 2 male, 5 female, and 4 juvenile. Now if you are wondering how I remember it was right to left and not visa versa well it is easy, because they was hunting virtually all the time I was there I spent a lot of time scanning and counting. A Common Buzzard spent a long time sat on a fence post near the Counterwall Hide. There was 5 Kestrels in the area, but the best of the lot was a small falcon that was moving over the ground like a little torpedo, then it came to rest on a mound of earth, the bird in question, a female Merlin. On our way back to the car park a Dabchick was feeding in one of the dykes, a Little Egret was feeding close by, and further on a Grey Heron flew over heading towards the river.
Other birds seen over my 2 hour period: Mute Swan, C/Crow, Rook, Magpie, W/Pigeon.
On and under the feeders: Pheasant, Blue Tit, H/Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Moorhen,
My "Bird of the Day" is the ** MERLIN.**
On our way home as we neared the A229 junction off of the M2 3 Common Buzzards was seen flying south.
Halling: River and Marsh Rd. 19/11/2014.
It has been a good few months since I went for a walk to the river and Marsh Rd, but I decided to push myself to go out today, the weather was lovely so that helped. There was nothing out of the ordinary to see on the way, apart from some low life who has dumped 6 car tyres near the cemetery bridge.
The tide was on the turn when I arrived, but while checking out the water I did see a Kingfisher cross the river and perch itself on one of the reeds. There was also 11 B/H/Gulls and a few Common Gulls mixed in with them on the water, along with 5 diving Cormorants. As usual there was quite a few Mallard scattered here and there, in total over my walk I saw 13.
My next stop off point was the railings near the common to scan the part of the river that goes around the bend to the north. Just as I arrived I noticed 2 large white birds on the mud flats, Little Egrets. There was a few waders scattered around, Lapwing and Redshank. After about 10-15 minutes 4 Dabchicks came into view, sticking together, diving in unison.
Marsh Rd was worth a good look, due to the amount of rain we have been having, there was a chance something might be there. The field in question is the first on the left going down to the river. I was right, there is enough water there to keep 7 Teal happy, along with 1 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, 6 Moorhen. There was also a male Kestrel making it's presence known.
The birds seen on my way home was: Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Jackdaw, C/Crow, Magpie, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Robin, Starling, H/Sparrow, Dunnock,W/Pigeon, C/Dove,